The Journal, Saturday, 10/7

Hey Folks,

Well, it’s Saturday. A very short post today, maybe making up for the longer ones recently.

Today was to be my first day as a nonsmoker (leaving cigars behind) but I thought that might not be fair to my visiting grandchildren. (grin)

So I’ll make a trip later to Tombstone or Sierra Vista to buy enough sticks to get me through the weekend. I’m looking forward to leaving the habit behind me.

Ah, after the sun came up, I found out my son and one adult grandson are here, but the little ones aren’t. So maybe I’ll buy just enough cigars to get through today (since I already had one this morning).

Anyway, nonwriting day today and probably tomorrow. I’m not worried. The novel story is in a good place, so I can easily jump back in pretty much at will.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

If you’re interested in space stuff, I encourage you to visit https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/ and browse awhile. Excellent.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 160 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 160

Writing of Pulp Novel 5 (a Stern Richards novel)

Day 1…… 1080 words. Total words to date…… 1080
Day 2…… 2167 words. Total words to date…… 3247
Day 3…… 1370 words. Total words to date…… 4617
Day 4…… 1840 words. Total words to date…… 6457
Day 5…… 1193 words. Total words to date…… 7650
Day 6…… 1407 words. Total words to date…… 9057
Day 7…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 11282
Total fiction words for the year………… 445428
Total nonfiction words for the month… 5250
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 157933
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 603361

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 678 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novels to Date………………………… 9
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 27
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 182

The Journal, Friday, 10/6

Hey Folks,

Well, another long post, but one I think you’ll find is worth it.

First, while searching for something else, I ran across an article titled “Master of Magic Realism Harvey Stanbrough is Offering a Free Short from His Collection of Cantina Tales.”

You can see the brief article at https://davidjrodger.wordpress.com/2011/11/22/master-of-magic-realism-harvey-stanbrough-is-offering-a-free-short-from-his-collection-of-cantina-tales/.

I remembered I had left a ‘thank you’ note in a comment below the article. I never received a reply or a follow-up comment.

This morning I clicked the home page of that WordPress.com site, and I learned that David J. Rodger passed away the same day that post about me went public.

I had never heard of David before he was kind enough to mention me in his blog.

I haven’t read any of his work, but I intend to order some today. To read a bit more about David J. Rodger and his books yourself, please check his main website at http://www.davidjrodger.com/.

Guest Topic: Pricing in 2017

The following is excerpted from Dean Wesley Smith’s blog post this morning. You can read the full article at the link in the “Of Interest” section below.

Electronic Pricing… Novels

Genre matters. Range from $3.99 to $6.99, with romance being on the lower side, mystery on the upper side.

Length does not seem to matter at all.

All the studies have shown that you get above $6.99 and you start hitting price resistance for electronic books unless the book is something really special.

You go below $3.99 and you leave yourself no room for discounting or short-term sales.

You get down into the 99 cent area and you are in a trash ghetto.

And yes, I do know about the stupidity of ever-free. Just say no.

[….]

Electronic Pricing… Short Stories

[….]

A general rule of thumb of short fiction… Genre does not matter. Length does matter. Exactly opposite of novels.

Under 3,000 words, 99 cents or $1.99. I would favor the $1.99 to stay out of the trash pile.

Over 3,000 words, $2.99. (I know some writers who are doing $3.99 and making fine money on short fiction, but I like the $2.99 as a good balance.) [Editor’s Note: The $2.99 or higher price point also gets you a 70% royalty at Amazon too, vs. 35%.]

Over 10,000 words, $3.99 and above 20,000 words price it as a novel in the genre and call it a short novel. [….]

Paper Pricing… Novels

The old general rule of $2.00 profit in extended distribution in CreateSpace has become meaningless. [Editor’s note: If you remember, I mentioned this extended distribution only a day or two ago. Ignore what I said, and go with this instead.] Get your price down as much as you can. Under $10 is the best for trade paper. $12.99 is fine as well. Above that you hit resistance unless the book is longer.

Length not only matters, it causes [your cost] to go up. You have no choice, but try to keep the [price] down as low as possible.

[B]ookstore distribution [is] a folly in 2017 because as Author Earnings have reported, almost 80% of paper books are sold online these days.

[….]

Keep the price low as possible, especially in romance. Very price conscious group.

Paper Pricing… Short Stories

Yes, why not do a paper edition of your stand-alone short story? It’s free to do, easy with Vellum to lay out, and makes your $2.99 electronic price look pretty good with the $4.99 paper there linked. [….]

Audio Pricing

Not getting anywhere near audio. You are on your own. But do realize there are new players on the field in audio. Go slow and learn them and give them a chance to grow some.

That’s it.

2017 sure has made things a ton easier. The drive of pricing to hit the bottom leveled out a few years ago and now we are stable.

And if we indies keep our prices in those ranges, it makes those traditional electronic prices look downright stupid. And more readers will go to indie books.
***

A couple of quick, related things — In the original post, Dean talks about using IngramSpark to try to get Ingram to list your book IF you follow his advice and don’t go with Extended Distribution at CreateSpace (so you can keep your price low).

So One, I guess IngramSpark is a thing and that it’s part of Ingram. I stand corrected (and surprised).

Two, if you DO still go with Extended Distribution (and the required higher price) at CreateSpace, your book will be offered in many more stores than “just Amazon.”

Most of my sales are in ebooks and most come through Amazon.

Now, you might think I’d visit CreateSpace later today to lower the prices on all of my paper novels.

Nope. I’m gonna leave them right where they are and in Extended Distribution.

So will my books be overpriced, even for trade paperbacks?

Sure. But price also goes to perceived value, and mostly I publish in paper only so readers will see the price comparison between paper and ebook when they look up my books.

In other words, I use paper only to drive the purchase of ebooks. I think I’ll continue in that vein.
***

I found Dean’s thought on pricing longer fiction very interesting, that genre, not length, is what matters. I have a question in to him via email.

After I hear back from him, I’ll post my own new pricing guidelines in case you might find them of interest.

UPDATE: Dean responded, and he said pretty much what I expected. I’ll post my new personal pricing guidelines as a topic in a day or three.
***

Today will be a light writing day probably. My son and his family are coming to visit for the weekend, so I have preparations to make. Grocery, laundry, stuff like that.

Finally back from doing chores just before noon. Now to the novel for a little while. There are also division baseball games on today, so… (grin). But I’d like to advance the novel a bit before I go to that for the day.

Okay. I got the story back on track. We’ll see what happens tomorrow.

See you then.

Of Interest

See “Pricing Silliness and a Learning Lesson” at https://www.deanwesleysmith.com/pricing-silliness-and-a-learning-lesson/.

From The Digital Reader, see “Author Website Checklist” at https://the-digital-reader.com/2017/10/05/author-website-checklist-2/.

Fiction Words: 1407
Nonfiction Words: 1000 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 2407

Writing of Pulp Novel 5 (a Stern Richards novel)

Day 1…… 1080 words. Total words to date…… 1080
Day 2…… 2167 words. Total words to date…… 3247
Day 3…… 1370 words. Total words to date…… 4617
Day 4…… 1840 words. Total words to date…… 6457
Day 5…… 1193 words. Total words to date…… 7650
Day 6…… 1407 words. Total words to date…… 9057

Total fiction words for the month……… 11282
Total fiction words for the year………… 445428
Total nonfiction words for the month… 5090
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 157773
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 603201

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 677 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novels to Date………………………… 9
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 27
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 182

The Journal, Thursday, 10/5

Hey Folks,

Well, another long post today. Sorry about that. (grin)

It turns out I wrote quite a bit yesterday, considering. I revised the total yesterday before the Journal posted, and today’s numbers are current.  I don’t remember the last time I had such a great day as yesterday. It’s like someone turned on a light.

One thing I realized was that my current WIP isn’t “just” a PI-noir novel but a PI-noir suspense novel. That’s what it was wanting to be, and that’s where I took the wrong turn.

Topic: Writing Environment

The post by Nate Hoffelder in “Of Interest” yesterday keyed this post. It started me thinking (again) about my own writing environment.

As most of you know, I like the idea of a dedicated writing computer without Internet, games, etc. Why? Because when you sit down at a computer that’s dedicated to your fiction, it keys your subconscious that it’s time to play.

But when writing fiction I also enjoy the ease of hopping online for a moment to check a reference, etc. And I am able to do that without being drawn to check emails, Facebook etc.

For the better part of two years I did that in a structure I call The Adobe Hovel. It’s basically a stacked-mud storage-room structure about 150 feet from my house.

I put a LOT of short stories and novels through my dedicated writing computer out in that Hovel.
Unfortunately, the distance combined with the 3-foot thick walls, put the Hovel JUST outside the range of my WiFi.

So to “jump online” I had to use my phone’s hotspot, and that takes time, another distraction. It also involves data, and that gets expensive. Then a family of scorpions moved into the Hovel and I moved back to my home office.

I also have an outside desk, a plastic-coated wire-frame desk just outside my office window, where I write quite a bit. Of course, it’s within range of WiFi, so it’s all good.

But awhile back, I decided to try to do everything on one computer. My “new” Lenovo. I chose that one mostly because the battery lasts close to 5 hours vs. a little over an hour on my old HP computer.

But I’ve struggled with writing on the new computer. The keyboard has a slightly different feel, the screen is a different configuration, and so on. Just little things, but things that almost continually interrupt my writing.

And recently I’ve realized I’m more prone to spending longer online (email, FB, etc.) or playing a game on the new computer than I was on my dedicated writing computer.

So yesterday I switched back to my dedicated writing computer. And I had the best day I’ve had in a long time.

No doubt part of that was because I took the time to cycle back through the WIP and let the characters tell me where I took a wrong turn. But part of it was because I felt like I was Home again.

I also ran the power cord through the window so I won’t have to worry about the battery. (grin) And once again I can say writing fiction is the most fun a guy can have with his clothes on.
***

I rolled out late this morning after watching the wildcard baseball game last night. Great game.

I was chomping at the bit to get back to the story. I looked it over again. Turns out I cut a little over 2000 words, so a little more than the new number of words I wrote yesterday.

Anyway, I read the revised version to my wife. She didn’t miss any of the stuff I cut during my cycling session yesterday. Some of what I cut probably will make it back into the novel later.

I wrote around 400 new words this morning, then stopped to take a look at a manuscript a guy sent me for which he wants me to provide a copyedit.

Then for some reason my writing ‘puter went glitchy, so I dealt with that for awhile. Finally I restarted it and everything’s fine again, but that ate up a couple of hours.

I was headed back to the novel a little before 11 when I received notes on the previous one from my first reader, Kenneth Flowers. I can’t say enough about how good this guy is at being a pure first reader. If you need one, email Kenneth at krf1952@gmail.com.

NOW back to the novel. (grin) It’s a little after 12.

Well, I’m a little disappointed. It’s not being the big day I was expecting, but good enough I guess. I was so impressed with the technique I realized yesterday that I practiced a lot of the same thing today. (grin)

I let the writing rip for awhile (subconscious), then went back and checked (conscious) to be sure I was applying what I learned recently. Then I allowed myself to touch it on the way through (subconscious again). It’s coming along.

This will definitely be a learning novel, and I think it will be a plateau novel. It will take me to another level. And I’m not bragging here. As with any art form, there’s a natural progression.

A musician learns how to make that particular note, a painter how to create the exact shade, and a writer how to add just enough description (always through the POV character’s senses) without drowning in it.

From what I’ve heard, the first million words of writing novels gets you to the point you’re more or less a “novelist.” After that, if you continue to learn and apply what you learn, from time to time you attain a new level as certain epiphanies occur.

By my count, this will be my fourth transition.

I read a lot, and I judge my own work against that of some of the authors I whose work I read. There are a few who put out a quality I still feel like I’ll never approach.

But at the moment I’m closing in on the quality of craft of one of my favorite authors (James Lee Burke). I’ve surpassed a couple of best-selling authors. I won’t mention those names publicly. If only I were a master at marketing. (grin)

In the meantime, I’ll keep hacking along at whatever speed I can manage.

See you tomorrow.

Of Interest

Via The Passive Voice, see “Text-only news sites are slowly…” at https://www.poynter.org/news/text-only-news-sites-are-slowly-making-comeback-heres-why. This is VERY good news.

And it might be time to get on Instagram. Again via The Passive Voice, see “The Instagram Poet Outselling Homer Ten to One” at https://www.thecut.com/2017/10/profile-rupi-kaur-author-of-milk-and-honey.html.

Fiction Words: 1193
Nonfiction Words: 1110 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 2303

Writing of Pulp Novel 5 (a Stern Richards novel)

Day 1…… 1080 words. Total words to date…… 1080
Day 2…… 2167 words. Total words to date…… 3247
Day 3…… 1370 words. Total words to date…… 4617
Day 4…… 1840 words. Total words to date…… 6457
Day 5…… 1193 words. Total words to date…… 7650

Total fiction words for the month……… 9875
Total fiction words for the year………… 444021
Total nonfiction words for the month… 4090
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 156773
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 600794

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 676 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novels to Date………………………… 9
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 27
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 182

The Journal, Wednesday, 10/4

Hey Folks,

Well, this is a long post.

Awhile back, Nate Hoffelder of The Digital Reader mentioned that soon Google will begin prioritizing sites (in search results) that are secure (https vs. http). As a result, I was going to spend part of the day today converting my main website over to https.

But the more I read, the more I suspect SSL is primarily a necessity for monetized sites, which mine is not. Everything on the site itself is free, and anything that can be ordered goes through a secure site elsewhere: Amazon, B&N, PayPal, etc.

The cost involved in installing SSL myself isn’t all that great, but it’s a seemingly involved process that would take a professional web designer two to three hours. So it would probably take me three to four hours.

Then there’s the fact that my site still hasn’t migrated from my web host (ehost) to the new host (JustHost), to which ehost sold out. Therefore an SSL certificate is not currently available to me, so I can put off this process for awhile.

So the reason I wrote all of that: Does anyone out there have knowledge of SSL and converting a site from http to https? If so, please email me.

Topic: Print (Paper) Books (a word to the wise)

If it’s important to you to put your books out in paper, you have to do so via POD (print on demand) unless you are extremely well-heeled and can afford to send an order (10,000 books or so) to an offset printer.

My choice for POD is CreateSpace. Always has been, always will be. Yes, it’s an Amazon company. I don’t care.

I pay a designer, Kat MaGee at https://daringcreativedesigns.com/ to turn my covers into paper covers and to design the interior layout of my paper books. It costs me $100 per book. It’s an investment, and it’s my only cost. CreateSpace costs nothing. In fact, Kat even uploads them to my CS account for me.

Awhile back, a friend told me he’d heard a speaker say “in public” that books published through CreateSpace are not available at Barnes & Noble and other brick and mortar stores. My poor BS Detector almost exploded.

That is a bald-faced lie. So if you hear that, disregard it.

To make your CreateSpace books available for order by brick and mortar stores, you have only to select Expanded Distribution on CreateSpace. You should also set the price so that you earn at least a $2.00 royalty. (Yeah, that’s a measly two dollars. Not a typo.)

The price will seem high to you, but that’s because you devalue your own work and you’re comparing trade paperbacks (your books) to mass produced mass-market paperbacks.

You can set your price too low, then order a trunkload and sell them yourself, but then you aren’t concerned about whether they’re in B&N anyway. So why not set the price to get Extended Distribution and then sell the ones in your trunk at a “substantial discount” (or not)?

Anyway, that speaker also recommended a printer called Ingram-Spark. That tells me she has an iron in the fire. A dog in the hunt. Maybe stock options. Hey, she might even own the place.

At any rate, Ingram-Spark is NOT affiliated with Ingram, the distributor, and shame on them for leaching off the Ingram name. I have a feeling it’s just another scam aimed at writers.

Now, Ingram (the distributor) DOES have a printer in its family. The name of that printer is Lightning Source.

Lightning Source does pretty much the same thing CreateSpace does, but they charge a fee. CreateSpace does not. (CS does have paid services of which you can avail yourself, but there’s no reason to.)

So if you want to publish your books to paper, I strongly recommend using CreateSpace. If you want to pay money to have your books published to paper, use Lightning Source.

CreateSpace puts out an excellent product. In my case, I publish to paper only so shoppers at Amazon, B&N, etc. can see and compare the print price with the ebook price. In other words, I use print books to drive ebook sales.

This sort of thing really annoys me. When someone sets herself up as an authority figure and then delivers intentionally misleading information, it makes me wanna chew wheels and spit nails.

If I ever attend an event where she says that in public, you can bet I will call her on it. Also in public.

A Brief Factoid

To earn only $1,000,000 (ONE million dollars) in a single year, you would have to work 365 days, 16 hours per day (that 5840 hours). And you would have to earn $171.23 per hour.

Think about that the next time you hear a professional baseball player gripe about the “long season” or the next time you see an NFL or NBA player disrespect the very nation that enables them to be so rich.

(And we can’t really cite “Freedom of Speech” because they aren’t allowed to speak their mind on myriad other topics.)
***

Re my WIP, I don’t have the patience I used to have. My strongest urge is to simply drop it and move on to something else.

But I really like the main character.

So this morning I’m going to review some notes, then read over the WIP from the beginning and try to discern where it took a wrong turn into a dead end.

My main problem is that I’m not trusting the process. Been there before. I’m allowing things I’ve learned recently (conscious mind) to leach into the writing so that I’m watching for those things (again, conscious mind) and allowing the story to grind to a halt as I add them.

So there y’go. Again I find myself wanting to get back to the basics of writing. Writing a story like this is so much fun that grinding to a halt is really annoying.

So that will be today. It’s currently 6:15 a.m. We’ll see how the day turns out.
***

Well, by 10 (while doing several other things) I went back through some of the videos of a recent workshop and even added to my notes, then went over the more pertinent notes.

I also wrote a topic for tomorrow (I’ll count those words tomorrow) and mentioned I’m going to switch back over to my dedicated writing computer and why.

I made the switch today, then had to wait for Dropbox to sync about a b’jillion files. Now it’s almost 1 p.m. and I’m just about to begin reading over my WIP to see where it slipped off the deep end.

Oh wow. I found the problem. Major, major critical mind stuff. So I’m cutting a lot. And I don’t really care. I’m just glad I was able to save this WIP and especially this character. (grin)

I’m also writing a little, but I doubt the new stuff will add up to more than a few hundred words. It’ll take a couple more hours to finish going over this, and that’s about all the time I have left in the day.

Okay, so officially I’m calling today a nonwriting day. I’ll include any new writing with tomorrow’s count.

UPDATE: I wrote a lot more than I thought I would, considering. I’ve amended the totals below. (grin)

See you then.

Of Interest

To stir thought, see “What’s the Best Way…?” at https://the-digital-reader.com/2017/10/03/whats-best-way-create-distraction-free-writing-environment/.

See “Found: A Lost Dictionary of Slang…” at http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/anthony-burgess-slang-dictionary. I started a dictionary myself years ago and have added to it ever since, one akin to Ambrose Bierce’s The Devil’s Dictionary.

From Space.com, see “Best Space Books and Sci-Fi” at https://www.space.com/28973-best-space-books.html. They have five separate lists, including one of the best SF. I’m not on it. Oh darn. (grin) But the four nonfiction lists look pretty good. I added four new links to my website that begin with “Books” under Writers’ Resources.

Two of Dean’s posts made the cut today. See “Novel Structure Workshop Announced” at https://www.deanwesleysmith.com/novel-structure-workshop-announced/ and “One Time Science Fiction Cover Branding Workshop” at https://www.deanwesleysmith.com/one-time-science-fiction-cover-branding-workshop/.

Fiction Words: 1840
Nonfiction Words: 1320 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 1320

Writing of “Pulp Novel 5” (a Stern Richards novel)

Day 1…… 1080 words. Total words to date…… 1080
Day 2…… 2167 words. Total words to date…… 3247
Day 3…… 1370 words. Total words to date…… 4617
Day 4…… 1840 words. Total words to date…… 6457

Total fiction words for the month……… 8682
Total fiction words for the year………… 442828
Total nonfiction words for the month… 2980
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 155663
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 598491

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 675 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novels to Date………………………… 9
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 27
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 182

The Journal, Tuesday, 10/3

Hey Folks,

Rolled out on time this morning and went through my usual routine, albeit in 47 degree weather. It wouldn’t be bad, but there was a light breeze. Brrr.

For my first sojourn outside this morning I was in sweatpants, a long-sleeved thermal shirt, and a thick, hooded zip-up sweat shirt. (grin) It wasn’t pretty, but it was dark, so….

And to think when I was living in Indiana I was running around outside without even a t-shirt on in 30 degree weather. Of course, I was wearing pants ’cause the cops get picky over stuff like that.

After making my rounds of the Internet, I read what I’ve written on the WIP thus far to my wife. She liked it, but then, that’s part of her job. (grin)

I wrote for awhile, then broke away and wrote a blog post for the big blog. It will go live Friday. It’s part of the expansion of the main site from a Writers’ Resource to a Writer’s Resource AND a Writer’s Website.

Back to the novel at around 10:30.

Well, I hit a glitch. I won’t talk about it here because I don’t think doing so would help anyone else, but I’m temporarily stalled in the novel.

Way too early in the story for nonsense like this. I’m not worried about it, not to the point of fretting or anything. I have nine novels on the year, and I don’t doubt that before the end of October I’ll have 10 or 11.

But for the rest of today, I need to just forget about it.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

See Dean’s “Working On Pricing Post” at https://www.deanwesleysmith.com/working-on-pricing-post/.

Fiction Words: 1370
Nonfiction Words: 890 (280 Journal, 610 main blog)
So total words for the day: 2260

Writing of Pulp Novel 5 (a Stern Richards novel)

Day 1…… 1080 words. Total words to date…… 1080
Day 2…… 2167 words. Total words to date…… 3247
Day 3…… 1370 words. Total words to date…… 4617

Total fiction words for the month……… 6842
Total fiction words for the year………… 440988
Total nonfiction words for the month… 1660
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 154343
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 5953311

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 674 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novels to Date………………………… 9
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 27
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 182

The Journal, Monday, 10/2

Hey Folks,

First and foremost, my heart goes out to the victims of the shooting in Las Vegas, and my unbridled rage to the shooter. Damn him.

Rolled out way late this morning. Almost 5 a.m. That’s a couple of hours late for me.
Partly though it was a choice. As I work toward snapping off my cigar-smoking habit at the end of this week, the later I get up the easier it will be to smoke fewer cigars per day so my current stash will last through Friday.

I can’t say I’ll be sorry to see the little monsters go. Since I made the decision over a week ago to stop being so selfish, I’ve enjoyed exactly two of the several cigars I smoked.

The rest tasted, as one friend so wittily described them, like “a rolled up batch of stinkweed held together with duct tape and bailing wire.” (Thanks, DB.)
***

Got a little writing done this morning before 8 a.m. on yet another fiction that sprang hard into my head. It ricocheted around awhile, propelled by a very light discussion of religion (not spirituality) and belief vs. truth on Facebook.

Don’t know whether the opening I wrote will go anywhere. It isn’t any easier playing God in a fiction than it is in real life. (Been there, done that, found it way too much responsibility.)

But it was 800 words of sheer fun (see “God Piece” below). The good news is, if it goes anywhere at all, it’ll be a novel. Far too much to play with to be a short story. Or a short anything.

In fact, I don’t think I could finish it in a month, so I’ll probably save it for sometime next year.

In the meantime, I’ll push it to the side and get back to the for-sure PI humor-noir novel I started yesterday. Onward.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

Via The Digital Reader and Open Culture, at “the Flickr account PhotosNormandie, you can browse and search over 4,300 high resolution photographs from the pivotal Normandy campaign.” See https://www.flickr.com/photos/photosnormandie/with/37364227366/. I’m not clear on whether some or all of these are in the public domain or otherwise royalty-free. Browsing some of them brought back memories of my time in the Corps.

Also see “People Are Weird About Books” (and I even left a couple of comments) at https://the-digital-reader.com/2017/09/29/people-weird-books-attempts-improve-fix-books-web-browser-proves/.

Via The Passive Voice, “Remove Watermarks Online?” is an interesting read. See https://artlawjournal.com/watermarks/.

Just for fun, if you think you know the “10 Commandments,” check http://disinfo.com/2010/02/the-ten-commandments-we-always-see-arent-the-ten-commandments/.

Fiction Words: 2967
Nonfiction Words: 430 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 3397

Writing of “Pulp Novel 5” (a Stern Richards novel)

Day 1…… 1080 words. Total words to date…… 1080
Day 2…… 2167 words. Total words to date…… 3247

Writing of “God Piece”
Day 1…… 0800 words. Total words to date…… 800

Total fiction words for the month……… 5472
Total fiction words for the year………… 439618
Total nonfiction words for the month… 770
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 153453
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 593071

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 673 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novels to Date………………………… 9
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 27
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 182

The Journal, Sunday, 10/1

Hey Folks,

Hmmm. Strange things going on with the Internet lately. Sites that have been fine for years suddenly not working. Then a few minutes later, they’re fine again.

I’ve encountered problems with some of the plugins on my own site, DWS has encountered several problems recently, and other sites I visit regularly have experienced glitches of various levels of severity.

Just wondering, is anyone else seeing these problems? At this point, I’m only hoping I can access hestanbrough.com (The Daily Journal) when it’s time to post today’s edition. It’s already blanked out on me three times this morning. (grin)

Of course, my security-bent mind goes immediately to hoping some nation or group that’s hostile to the US isn’t behind it.

I also have heard recently about flares on the sun (sorry, but “sunflares” are those pretty flowers with the bright yellow petals) and how those are currently affecting electronics of all sorts on Earth. (For the most relevant events, see https://www.spaceweatherlive.com/en/news if you are able.)

The bottom line is, what do you do if the Big Plug we’ve all come (more or less) to rely on is suddenly kicked out of the wall?
***

I wrote a start that might go somewhere someday. I was “trying” to write a short story, I think, but as I wrote it felt bigger than that. And I wasn’t in the mood to live with that particular topic for longer than a day. So I’ll sideline it.

Then I started another PI novel. I’m really enjoying writing those right now. I got a good opening written, then decided to take the rest of the day to watch a baseball game. My main goal was to write fiction on the first day of the month. (grin) I hate starting a month with a goose egg.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

See “Herd Your Cats” at https://killzoneblog.com/2017/10/herd-your-cats.html.

From Sam Turner, see “Hemingway’s First Short Story Found in Key West” at https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/29/books/hemingway-first-story-found-in-florida.html.

Fiction Words: 2505
Nonfiction Words: 340 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 2845

Writing of “Untitled Start” (short story or novel)

Day 1…… 1425 words. Total words to date…… 1425

Writing of “Pulp Novel 5” (a Stern Richards novel)

Day 1…… 1080 words. Total words to date…… 1080

Total fiction words for the month……… 2505
Total fiction words for the year………… 436651
Total nonfiction words for the month… 340
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 153023
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 589674

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 672 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novels to Date………………………… 9
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 27
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 182

The Journal, Saturday, 9/30

Hey Folks,

Rolled out slightly after 3 this morning and went straight to email and then Facebook.

As a result of one article in one of the several e-newsletters I receive each morning, I found a topic.

My reading and then writing the topic below formed the start for the day.

We have a trip planned to Sierra Vista a little later this morning. Between now and then, I hope to write a bit of fiction.

Topic: Try And vs. Try To

First, a disclaimer — When people are speaking in real life (or characters in dialogue in a fiction) and they use the “try and” structure as a colloquialism, it doesn’t bother me.

In fact, I usually don’t even notice. If I do notice, I assume the structure is necessary to that person’s (or character’s) manner of speech.

In a real life conversation, the usage is unintentional.

In fiction, the usage is usually intentional as it speaks subliminally to the character’s level of education and/or ignorance.

But when the structure appears in a nonfiction article or book, it slaps me right out of the topic. Most of the time I stop reading.

That happened this morning.

I was reading “Astronauts Are Roasting B.o.B’s Flat Earth Satellite And It’s Amazing” by Jacinta Bowler. Here’s the offensive passage:

“[B.o.B] … is currently crowdfunding to TRY AND get a satellite out to space….” (emphasis added)

How much credibility does the author really have if she doesn’t know the difference?

The article didn’t allow comments. If it had, I would have left one.

My comment might have been a snarky “Try and? Really?”

Or perhaps the more specific and illustrative “Your ‘try and’ grabbed me and tossed me right out of your article. I hope you’ll ‘try to’ do better next time.”

I like to think I’d have left the second comment instead of the first. Maybe it would help this hapless writer.

Am I being nitpicky? Not really. It wasn’t like I was looking for a fight. Shrug. I just wanted to read the article.

The author’s use of the phrase was her choice. It was a result of her ignorance, not my reading. It affected me so strongly I was unable to continue reading the article.

Fortunately, there was an article on the same topic by a different author in a different newsletter. I read it all the way through and never noticed what sort of grammar or syntax the author was using.

There’s a lesson here for fiction writers.

Readers don’t read critically. They don’t read for words or phrases or sentence structure. They read for Story. They read to be entertained.

We all have our little writing quirks. When you’re fortunate enough to have one pointed out, consider it and learn from it.

If readers are often suddenly shoved out of your story by boredom or an awkward construction, it’s your fault, not theirs.

Again, readers only want to read and be entertained.

Whether they read YOUR work is important only to you. So the question you have to answer is this: How important is it?
***

I didn’t get enough done to cause a ripple in a pond before we left. We were gone longer than we expected, and when I got back, I worked on my website. Basically, I changed the home page. Check it out at HarveyStanbrough.com.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

Mars Colonization in Five Years? See https://www.livescience.com/60560-elon-musk-spacex-fly-people-to-mars-2024.html.

Here’s one on Musk’s vision for both the moon and Mars: https://www.space.com/38310-elon-musk-moon-base-mars-city-images.html.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 590 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 590

Writing of (novel)

Day 1…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 54526
Total fiction words for the year………… 434146
Total nonfiction words for the month… 16283
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 152683
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 586829

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 671 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novels to Date………………………… 9
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 27
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 182

The Journal, Friday, 9/29

Hey Folks,

Looks like I updated my website to include a page dedicated to bundles just in time. A new bundle started today.

I only have a short story in this one but still. (grin)

Well, I signed up this morning to support the restart of Pulphouse Fiction Magazine. There are some really cool “rewards” for pledging to the Kickstarter campaign.

I won’t tell you which one I pledged, but I do encourage you to at least go take a look at the various offerings. You can find those at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/403649867/pulphouse-fiction-magazine.
***

On a day when I could as easily have slept-in until 4 or even 5, I rolled out on time. Go figure. The little girl likes going outside early, so….
***

On her blog, Linda Maye Adams referenced an article that seems to prove Hemingway did not write the original six-word short story that many claim he wrote. You can see the proferred “proof” at https://www.thevintagenews.com/2017/09/24/for-sale-baby-shoes-never-worn-tracing-the-history-of-the-shortest-story-ever-told/.

I choose to believe he wrote the story. The fact that it closely resembles advertisements that were published earlier doesn’t matter to me in the slightest. To paraphrase Uncle Hub from Secondhand Lions, I believe he wrote it simply because it’s one of those things that are worth believing in. (grin)
***

Smith’s Monthly is a monthly magazine in both ebook and print in which DWS fills every issue with his own work: a full novel, a novel serialization, short fiction and poetry.

And apparently he has a boatload of subscribers. Which means he’s not only filling the magazine, but he’s accountable to subscribers for filling the magazine.

Ever since I first heard of that insanity, I’ve wondered what it would be like to actually fill a magazine with my own work every month.

After all, I started this Journal to help increase my productivity by making myself accountable to others. (And Marines, as it turns out, need a place to report.)

Don’t worry. I’m not going to start a monthly magazine and go begging for subscribers.

But in this lax time after I just finished a novel, I’m using that as a model to think up a really good challenge for myself.

One that won’t create unnecessary pressure, but one that pushes me to produce and one for which I can duplicate the results month after month to create a streak.

Stay tuned.

Well, an old friend dropped by today. We enjoyed a good visit. No writing today, and no regrets.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

For those of you who are bent that way, take a look at StoryShop (Lite), a new free writing tool that allegedly removes all distractions and better enables you to write. You can see it at https://storyshop.io/.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 450 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 450

Writing of (novel)

Day 1…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 54526
Total fiction words for the year………… 434146
Total nonfiction words for the month… 15693
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 152093
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 586239

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 670 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novels to Date………………………… 9
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 27
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 182

The Journal, Thursday, 9/28

Hey Folks,

Well, I can recommend about 2/3 of James Scott Bell’s book on “dazzling dialogue.” I picked up a couple of things from it. If you buy it, I strongly recommend you don’t read the section on punctuation.

Sorry to have to say, but the guy has no idea what he’s talking about in that regard. None. Much of what he writes in the last segment of that book (from the bit on punctuation to the end) is actually harmful.

The section rekindled within me the desire to update Punctuation for Writers and publish a new edition. I’ll be doing that soon.

I can’t and don’t recommend his book on “Voice.” It might work (by which I mean, make sense) for some, but not for me in any way. It left me a little disappointed, frankly.

I hope the marketing book will be more helpful.
***

Rolled out around 3, spent some time reading and some time on the Internet. Then I worked on my website a bit. I moved “Short Fiction” under “Books” in the menu and created a dedicated page for bundles I’m currently in.

I still want to add descriptions to that page, but otherwise I’m pleased with the result. It’s a step toward a writer’s website rather than an instructor’s website. (grin)

Finally got the page updated and finalized a little before 9.

I started writing a little after 10 and finished the last two chapters right at noon. This one’s finished.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

See “Pulphouse Kickstarter is Live” at https://www.deanwesleysmith.com/pulphouse-kickstarter-is-live/.

Just incredible. See “It’s Official: Russia And The US Will Work Together on The First-Ever Moon Station” at http://www.sciencealert.com/russia-and-the-us-are-going-to-space-together-again.

And for any horror writers out there, “This Newly Discovered Giant Rat Species” at http://www.sciencealert.com/scientists-have-discovered-a-new-species-of-giant-rat-and-it-s-so-cool.

Fiction Words: 1559
Nonfiction Words: 300 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 1859

Writing of Loose Ends (novel)

Day 1 – 15……………………… Total words to date…… 34735
Day 16… 1146 words. Total words to date…… 35881
Day 17… 1102 words. Total words to date…… 36983
Day 18… 3723 words. Total words to date…… 40706
Day 19… 1650 words. Total words to date…… 42356
Day 20… 1422 words. Total words to date…… 43778
Day 21… 2108 words. Total words to date…… 45886
Day 22… 1554 words. Total words to date…… 47445 (done)

Total fiction words for the month……… 54526
Total fiction words for the year………… 434146
Total nonfiction words for the month… 15243
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 151643
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 585789

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 669 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novels to Date………………………… 9
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 27
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 182